Demand for services, retirements drive need for 1.1 million more nurses
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects increases in demand for an additional 574,400 RNs and APRNs by 2022. In addition, 555,100 RNs and APRNs will retire or otherwise leave the labor force by that time, yielding total projected openings of 1.13 million. The tsunami of retirements reflects several historical factors associated with the Baby Boom, Title VIII funding variations, and changes in career opportunities for women that occurred in the ’70s and ’80s.
To achieve that level of growth, ANA recommends four actions:
• Increase funding for federal Nursing Workforce Development Programs (known as Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act, which marks its 50th anniversary this year).
• Recruit more nursing professors and increase incentives to teach. Nursing faculty salaries generally are lower than what many faculty members could earn in clinical practice.
• Ensure an adequate number of clinical training sites so nursing students can fulfill educational requirements.
• Encourage hospitals and other employers to hire new nursing graduates now to benefit from mentoring from experienced RNs, and to mitigate the impact of the projected exodus of seasoned RNs in the coming years.
The individual state employment departments have also made projections of expansion jobs, although not retirements and replacements. (These projections involve RNs only.) The graph shown assumes individual state retirements equal to the national average of 19.4 percent of current employment levels in each state. The graph exhibits projected total job openings ranging from 2,144 in Vermont to 103,118 in California. The state with the largest projected percentage gain is Idaho at 59.8 percent. The slowest growing state is projected to be Arkansas at 29 percent.
To see the complete graph and read more, visit McMenamin’s blog at www.ananursespace.org/blogs/peter-mcmenamin/2014/07/18/quik.
— Peter McMenamin is a senior policy fellow and health economist at ANA.